Nigeria’s Lagos State shuts “noisy” churches and mosques

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PICTURE COURTESY: NAT GEO

Nigeria’s commercial hub Lagos State has shut 70 churches and 20 mosques in an attempt to reduce high noise levels.

The city which is home to some 21 million inhabitants as at 2015 (approximately the population of Ghana) has a constant background of noise – from the blaring of car horns, to the Muslim call to prayer and loud singing in churches.

About 10 hotels, pubs and club houses were also closed, officials said.

‘‘About 70 churches, 20 mosques and about 11 hotels, club houses and beer parlours were shut and we have given them some directives to follow,’‘ an official of Lagos State said.

The state government has vowed to make the city, the biggest in Africa, noise-free by 2020.

In August, the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LEPA) closed 22 premises after residents complained about noise emanating from them.

The General Manager of LASEPA, Shani Bola told reporters that as part of the Lagos mega city aspirations by year 2020, it was poised to reduce noise pollution to zero percent.

‘‘We are only able to reduce the noise level to about 35%. That is not a pass mark yet. So, until we reach that target of 70 to 80%, we will continue the enforcement.

Mr Shabi said mosques complied with their instructions more than churches because when they are ordered to shut down, they “instantly bring down their speakers or reduce the noise they make”.

He further revealed plans by the State government to outlaw make-shift churches, the situation where ‘one-man’ churches mount tents and use uncompleted buildings to host church services.

Nigerians are extremely religious, with a large number of evangelical churches operating in Lagos.

Christians form the majority in the city.

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